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For the Cook & Foodie on your List, Consider this Healthy Holiday Gift

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Many people rely on olive oil when they cook, as it is thought to be healthier than many other oils that could be used. These health benefits have solidified olive oil as a culinary mainstay and is a main element in the Mediterranean diet. Much research has been done that has revealed the exact composition of polyphenols which protect the body from many diseases because they function like antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Although olive oils in general are good for the body, the best source of these benefits is extra virgin.

Did you know just a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil helps the body?

Because of these nutrients, researches have found that as little as 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per day can lower anti-inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, lower the risk of cardiovascular problems, balance cholesterol, improve digestive system, support bone health, reduce gallstones, and improve cognitive function. It also works to keep control insulin levels in the body as well as protect your body from cell damage, colon, breast cancer, diabetes, heart problems, arthritis, high cholesterol, weight loss, metabolism, digestion, aging and cancer. Consuming 4 tablespoons or more a day can significantly lower your heart risks such as stroke or heart disease. It’s important though not to overdo it. Olive oil is high in calories, but is a healthy fat. Therefore, moderation, as with everything, is important.

As many of us like to approach the new year with resolutions to be healthier, consider incorporating olive oils in your diet.Olive oil boosts metabolism leading to a reduction in body weight. It also is rich in vitamin E making it especially good for good bone structure and much more effective for preventing the aging process.

Just as olive oil helps heal cells internally, it can also help exterior skin cells heal themselves. It is used in everything from skin moisturizers and nail care kits as it helps give a skin, nails and hair a natural shine and glow.

Here’s some uses:

Cooking – Start using olive oil for cooking or as a replacement whenever a recipe calls for butter. Or you can split the recipe by using half oil and half butter

Body Oil – Rub a couple drops on your body or face after washing. You might even try shaving with it or using it to remove makeup.

Control Hair Frizz, Dry Cuticles & Nails – Just comb a drop through your hair to control flyaways and frizz. Rub it into nail cuticles and nails for a naturally polished look.

Control a Nagging Cough or Scratchy Throat – Swallow a tablespoon to soothe a dry or irritated throat.

Shine Stainless Pots & Pans – Olive oil will prevent streaking and tarnishing and naturally condition your pots and pans.

Lip Balm – Olive oil is the perfect lip balm to keep chapped lips at bay. It’s also great to use on your hands as a soothing hand lotion in winter.

Bath Oil – Add a few drops to the water you’re running for your bath. The benefits to your skin will be obvious even after the first time you use it.

Olive oil, however, has to be stored carefully. As light can damage the oil through oxidation, at the store, you should choose a dark green glass bottle or other material. The oil should then be stored in a room temperature cupboard. Olive oil does go rancid after a while though. If kept in the cupboard away from light, it typically lasts about a year.

Healthy Eating

Vegan Food News of the Week: Innovations and Delights

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In the ever-evolving world of vegan cuisine, this week has brought a plethora of delightful updates and innovations. From the world’s first plant-based soup dumplings to celebrity-endorsed juices and advancements in vegan honey, the vegan food industry continues to surprise and inspire with its creativity and commitment to sustainability. Here’s a rundown of some of the most exciting developments.

Soup Dumplings Get a Vegan Makeover

One of the most notable innovations this week is the introduction of the world’s first plant-based soup dumplings by dumpling brand MìLà. Traditionally, soup dumplings, or xiaolongbao, rely on gelatin to keep the broth gelatinous until steamed. MìLà’s new Vegetarian Soup Dumplings, which are entirely vegan, utilize a patent-pending vegan gelatin and jackfruit to mimic the traditional texture and flavor. This development comes after two years of rigorous testing and is a significant step forward in making popular cuisines accessible to the vegan community.

Avocado Toast Seasoning Revolution

European brand Just Spices has introduced a novel seasoning blend designed specifically for avocado toast. This blend, which includes tomato flakes, chilies, black sesame, and tellicherry pepper, promises to elevate the simple avocado toast to new culinary heights. Just Spices’ expansion into the US market is supported by The Kraft Heinz Company, highlighting a growing trend of traditional food giants exploring the plant-based space.

Vegan Jerky from Theo’s Plant Based

In the snack category, Theo’s Plant Based has launched an innovative Sweet Potato Jerky. This snack combines the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes with a variety of flavors, including Garlic Herb, Maple Dijon, Miso Nori, and Korean BBQ. Theo’s commitment to using the whole vegetable and sourcing from regenerative and organic farms emphasizes the sustainability aspect of vegan snacking.

Planta Burger Expands Its Reach

Planta, a vegan restaurant chain known for its upscale plant-based fare, is expanding its popular Planta Burger concept through four ghost kitchens across Florida and New York City. The concept, which started in Toronto, offers a variety of plant-based burgers, sides, shakes, and treats, catering to the growing demand for high-quality vegan fast food.

Innovations in Vegan Dairy and Honey

The dairy and honey alternatives market is also seeing exciting developments. Bored Cow has launched the first vegan drinkable yogurt line made with animal-free whey, available in Vanilla, Strawberry, and Passionfruit Mango flavors. Meanwhile, MeliBio is revolutionizing the honey industry with its bee-free Spicy Habanero Hot Honey, offering a vegan alternative to this popular condiment.

Erewhon and Kourtney Kardashian Team Up for Lemme Juice

In collaboration with wellness brand Lemme, owned by Kourtney Kardashian, Los Angeles grocery store Erewhon has launched a new plant-based juice. Priced at $17, this luxurious blend includes ingredients like coconut and almond milk, pitaya, sea moss, blue spirulina, lavender, maple syrup, and custom probiotics, setting a new standard for health-conscious beverages.

Sweet Treats from Nature’s Bakery

Finally, Nature’s Bakery is expanding its vegan brownie line with a new Salted Caramel flavor. Made with whole grains, dates, and vegan chocolate, this new addition promises a delicious and wholesome snacking option.

These updates from the vegan food industry underscore the sector’s continuous innovation and growth. As consumer interest in plant-based options rises, companies are responding with creative solutions that not only cater to vegan and vegetarian diets but also appeal to a broader audience looking for sustainable, healthy food choices. With each new development, the vegan food industry moves closer to offering a plant-based alternative for every palate and preference.

For more detailed insights and developments in the vegan food industry, check out the full article on VegNews.

The vegan food scene is more vibrant and innovative than ever, offering exciting options for every meal and craving. Whether you’re a long-time vegan or just curious about plant-based eating, these developments are sure to inspire and delight.

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Healthy Eating

Gisele Bündchen’s Journey to Wellness: Overcoming Injury and Embracing Nourishment

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The life of Gisele Bündchen, a name synonymous with glamour and resilience, offers a narrative far removed from the catwalks and spotlights that defined her early years. In a recent New York Times feature, Bündchen opens up about her battle with physical ailments and the steps she took towards recovery and emotional well-being, shedding light on her transition from supermodel to advocate for holistic health and nourishment.

Bündchen’s journey began with a series of health challenges that would test her both physically and mentally. After sustaining a back injury from a fall off a horse, she faced the prospect of shoulder surgeries in 2019 and 2020, a daunting experience for someone whose career depended on physical wellness. The resulting physical limitations plunged her into a state of vulnerability, marking a significant turning point in her life.

Despite her initial reluctance to undergo surgery, opting instead for holistic alternatives like acupuncture, the severity of her condition could not be ignored. The MRI results revealed the stark reality: nearing her 40s, Bündchen was physically “in tatters.” The pain was relentless, hindering her ability to perform even the most basic tasks, such as lifting luggage or carrying her children, Benjamin and Vivian.

This period of convalescence forced Bündchen to confront her health and lifestyle choices head-on. It was a time of introspection, leading to a profound transformation that saw her embrace a path of holistic healing and healthy eating. Bündchen’s experience underscores the critical importance of nourishment in the healing process, a principle she passionately advocates for in her new cookbook, “Nourish.”

The transition from Boston’s frigid winters to Miami’s warmth was more than a change of scenery for Bündchen; it was a deliberate move towards a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle. Miami’s proximity to her native Brazil and its year-round sunshine offered the perfect backdrop for her new beginning. The city’s vibrant culture and emphasis on wellness resonated with Bündchen, further fueling her passion for healthy living.

However, Bündchen’s journey was not without its challenges. The spotlight on her personal life, particularly her marriage and subsequent divorce from NFL quarterback Tom Brady, added an additional layer of complexity to her recovery. The couple’s move to Florida and Brady’s brief retirement saga were heavily scrutinized, drawing unwelcome attention and speculation.

Despite these obstacles, Bündchen remained steadfast in her commitment to wellness. Her cookbook, “Nourish,” is a testament to her journey, offering insights into the power of food as medicine and the importance of a balanced, holistic approach to health. Bündchen’s story is a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative potential of nourishment in all its forms.

As Bündchen continues to advocate for holistic health, her message resonates with many who seek to overcome their own health challenges. Her journey from supermodel to wellness advocate exemplifies the importance of self-care, mindfulness, and the healing power of nourishment.

For those interested in exploring the science behind Bündchen’s approach to wellness, authoritative sources such as the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health offer valuable insights into holistic health practices. Similarly, organizations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provide resources on the role of nutrition in maintaining optimal health and preventing disease.

In sharing her story, Gisele Bündchen invites us to reconsider our own health and wellness practices, emphasizing the role of nourishment in achieving physical and emotional well-being. Her journey serves as an inspiring example of how adversity can be transformed into an opportunity for growth and renewal.

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Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating: A Vital Strategy to Combat Preeclampsia in Pregnancy

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In a world where lifestyle diseases increasingly dictate health outcomes, the power of diet, particularly in the context of pregnancy, has garnered significant attention. A recent editorial published in the Journal of the American Heart Association brings to light the critical role of dietary habits in mitigating the risk of preeclampsia—a condition that complicates up to 10% of pregnancies globally and poses severe risks to both mother and child.

Preeclampsia, characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys, during pregnancy, significantly increases the long-term risk of cardiovascular diseases. The overlap between cardiovascular health and pregnancy outcomes underscores the importance of a healthy diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins. Notably, dietary patterns such as the Mediterranean and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diets have been linked to reduced cardiovascular risks.

The focus of the study, conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, analyzed dietary habits of 451 adult women in their third trimester of pregnancy as part of the ongoing MADRES (Maternal And Developmental Risks from Environmental and Social stressors) study. This research predominantly involved low-income Hispanic/Latin women from Los Angeles, California, offering a unique insight into the dietary impacts on preeclampsia within a specific demographic.

Key Findings of the Study

The findings revealed a clear association between dietary habits and the risk of developing preeclampsia. High adherence to diets rich in solid fats, refined grains, and cheese correlated with an increased risk of preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Conversely, a diet abundant in vegetables, oils, and fruits (VOF diet) significantly reduced the risk, particularly among overweight women. This correlation did not hold as strongly for women across other BMI categories or those with pre-pregnancy hypertension, suggesting the nuanced interplay between diet, body weight, and pre-existing health conditions.

Interestingly, no significant relationship was found between the Healthy Eating Index-2015—a measure of diet quality according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans—and the risk of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy. This outcome hints at the complexity of dietary impacts and the need for tailored nutritional guidance during pregnancy.

The Broader Implications

The study’s implications extend beyond the individual to touch on socioeconomic disparities. The lesser availability and affordability of healthy foods for low-income women underscore the societal factors contributing to adverse pregnancy outcomes. This disparity calls for a broader approach to health promotion, encompassing access to nutritious foods as a fundamental right.

Moreover, the study spotlights the need for future research to include a diverse range of women, particularly those with pre-pregnancy cardiometabolic risk factors. Such inclusivity would provide a more comprehensive understanding of how different dietary patterns affect the risk of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy.

Conclusion

The editorial and accompanying study affirm the critical role of diet in preventing preeclampsia and by extension, safeguarding maternal and fetal health. It emphasizes the need for dietary interventions as part of preconception and pregnancy care, particularly among populations at higher risk due to socioeconomic factors.

As healthcare professionals and policymakers grapple with the rising tide of lifestyle diseases, this research offers a beacon of hope. By prioritizing healthy eating habits, we can mitigate the risk of preeclampsia and pave the way for healthier pregnancies and future generations. The findings serve as a reminder that, in the realm of health, prevention is not only better but also tastier than cure.

For more insights into the study and its implications, visit the full article here.

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